Saturday, August 19, 2017

RIP Mr Dick Gregory

Author, comedian, and humanitarian.  Thank you for sharing your gift with the world.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Where's Van Hunt?

I've found that most in my generation, regardless of race or background, who appreciate retro Black films feel the same about music that reflects an era gone by. Van Hunt was considered part of the early 2000s neo-soul movement with underrated hits like "Dust". Some music connoisseurs felt the title was stifling though some,like Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, managed to earn mainstream success to this day.

I still rock Mr Hunt's 2004 self-titled debut CD today. And it's on the strength of those tracks that I believe if Prince were to voluntarily pass the musical torch, Hunt could be a strong contender.

 This article describes some of the challenges the former Dionne Farris (now that's a name we haven't heard in a couple of minutes) protege. This year he released Popular, his first in more than a decade that was originally slated for 2008. Let me know what you think.
To listen on Spotify-https://open.spotify.com/album/6zyuCp6aqbAkBUuSTXuX7f
Other streaming music services - https://vanhunt.lnk.to/Popular

Friday, July 28, 2017

Brown Sugar Update




According to at least one commenter, I give Bounce TV a hard time.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  I mean, the station comes on digital and cable, they edit movie titles that contain the N word and their original programming , from what I've seen, depicts us in a positive (but sometimes dull) light.

However, I must say that they do listen to their critics.  Not long ago, I signed up for the Bounce streaming service and gave what I thought was an honest review.  This was due to the fact that commercials gave little information about the then-new product.

So several corny (and non-informative) TV commercials later, I have to say that the inventory has greatly improved.  They've added hard-to-find joints like The Spook that Sat by the Door and I believe I even saw Pipe Dreams and Mean Johnny Barrows.  I mean, a person can scroll for hours ....if there using the right device.

Now my problem is not the selection but the service itself.  They've fluctuated from a one-month trial to a one-week trial.  Ordering from the website or Google/Amazon.  One time, I had a movie load perfectly and play with no buffering on my smartphone but I couldn't get that on my Chromebook to save my life.  Then there's billing.

According to their customer service, there is no continuous billing protocol.  Without giving away too much information, Google can only do so much in terms of choosing the right card?  In reading through the reviews, I wasn't the only person not getting service beyond the initial billing period  (maybe this is why they stopped airing commercials with Pam Grier and Fred Williamson - as they're two examples of blaxploitation actors that do receive residuals from their work).

But like I said their customer service does come through.  I dealt with a charming (no sarcasm) person named Foxy Yazmin, it took time to find out that the system may still have a bug or two.  At one time, you could access a personal account via the website to see payment methods but going through a 3rd party seems to be more hassle than it's worth.  Yet, I stand true by my promise to return sometime in the future.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Before You Decide to Floss


 Here's a subtle reminder of how the establishment sees us (yes, even today in 2017).  Think about it, how often are we featured in ads about investments and other financial services?  While I'm glad to more of us in ads referring to small business ownership and advanced education, spending wisely is the real key to success IMHO. Don't trust the big name institutions? Try these instead! (Courtesy of Watch the Yard). P.S. Thanks to my cuzzo Shadana for posting this on Facebook last month.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Goodnight Skillet

On  7/4/17, we lost veteran actor Ji Tu Cumbuka to causes not yet determined.  Cumbuka, whose acting credits date back to 1968's Uptight (starring actor/ screenwriter Max Julian), make a remarkable presence on the stage, television, and the silver screen.  Update: It's been reported that he was suffering from a number of ailments, including vascular disease.

While major mediums mention Roots and Harlem Nights as his most notable roles, blaxploitation movie fans remember him as Skillet from 1972's Blacula.  With Cumbuka's stand out, gap-toothed smile, he was THAT dude in the club.  Rest in heaven bro.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Jim Brown Fans Tune into Bounce TV Tonight



If the summer heat is too much to deal with, Brown Sugar Saturday night has you covered with a blaxploitation triple threat.  Starting with Black Gunn (1972), Take a Hard Ride (1975 with Fred Williamson), and I Escaped from Devil's Island (1973).

Jim Brown has a lot in common with my favorite, Bernie Casey, as they always played solid characters on screen and got their start playing professional ball.  Of tonight's trifecta, I recommend Black Gunn.  It's filmed in L.A.'s west side, has an interesting plot, and the leading lady is the late Teresa Graves of Get Christie Love.

Hopefully, you'll enjoy the little bonus I threw in at the top, 1967's Riot. 

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Legends of Chamberlain Heights is Back!


Sorry for not posting sooner but I had to share. Especially since it's coming on at 11:30 tonight PST on Comedy Central.  If you miss The Boondocks or appreciate the comedy of three teens just hangin', this is so worth checking out.


Now, in case you've never seen this half-hour cartoon, it is kinda like 21st century What's Happening.  Three teens - one overweight, one silly, and the leader, of sorts - with a love for b-ball (there are some LeBron references in most episodes) and girls.  However, there's no neighborhood Big Mama for everyone to love and fear almost equally.

In addition, the sexual and drug references make this better-fitted for Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.  But in between some of the crass humor are rhetorical jokes that reflect current policy and social situations, as well as some joke targeted to the Gen X crowd.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Morris Day Releases Prince Tribute Song

"Over that Rainbow" is a stark contrast to the uptempo jams Day is known for.  Today is the one year anniversary of Prince's passing and I haven't seen this much love for the man since his career began nearly 40 years ago.

Check out the I Love Old School Music blog to read the interview where Morris Day talks about the last time he saw Prince.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

RIP Cuba Gooding Sr.

A truly underrated musician whose sound will live on for decades to come.  As lead singer of the Main Ingredient, his recognizable tenor made many Top 40 hits in the 1970's.  While nothing has been confirmed by officials, there's speculation that Gooding suffered a fatal overdose while behind the wheel.  Prayers to the Gooding family.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Did You Know Charlie Murphy Wanted to Rap?

Firstly, prayers to go out to the Murphy family and loved ones. Secondly, I wish the world had gotten to know him like they know little bro Eddie.  Here, he talks to VLAD TV about starting his stand-up career in his early 40s, having a career with a famous brother, being misunderstood, and his desire to spit a little something (whoever said he was too old must not have known about Hammer, who was WAY older than 28 when he was crab walking in genie pants)

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One of the Funniest Guest Stars From Sanford and Son...at 97!

The early episodes of Sanford and Son were the best...particularly those dealing with affairs of the heart.  When it came Grady's turn, it was just cold-blooded all around.  His fiancee (played by Norma Miller) tried to place brother on lock.  Not gonna give away the entire plot but it's one of the best laughs anyone with a pulse can have.

Anyway, according to sources Ms. Milller is still around and feeling good at 97 years young.  Here's a 2016 article,r where she shares her secrets to a long life.

Courtesy of Iloveoldschoolmusic.com

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Way Back Wednesday: White Chocolate Tribute


 Most people don't remember when the J. Geils Band made the R&B charts back in the early 80s. Yep, "Flamethrower" was that jam of doing the Cabbage Patch. Yesterday, J. Geils was found in his home (cause unknown as 4/11/17) but if you're scratching your head...

I had to clarify that the media wasn't talking about Peter Wolf, the long-time frontman that's had his share of problems.  Geils , 71, chose to stay in the background as founder and guitarist.

RIP and thanks for the music

Saturday, April 8, 2017

A Music Throwback and a Message

Sorry, if I'm a little MIA, had back-to-back exams and projects to complete.  But I've been lurking on the some of the blogs about what some of these new entertainers REALLY think about Black women.  Now, being from L.A., I think people should date who they please but respect their own as well, whether it be Black, Brown, or whatever.  

Seems the rappers have particularly strong feelings.  While Kendrick Lamar has praise, others go in on women with dark brown skin, natural hair, and features that are far from keen (but if you have an Inflata-Booty you MIGHT be allowed to party with those who don't have half the wealth they floss).

Anywho, I was so into my gym time today that I let my music tracks do their thing and ran across this gem by Meshell Ndegeocello.  A truly underrated sis whose Plantation Lullabies CD (from 94/95?) was truly on point.  Talk about reading sellout brothers for pure filth...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What You May Not Have Known about the Gong Show as a Kid

Those of us who watched the original Gong Show in the evening or after school may remember there was silliness and real talent.  While many, like the Givens Kids, were never heard from again Cheryl Lynn, Paul Reuben/Pee Wee herman, Oingo Boingo and Boxcar Willie are just a few contestants that made it to the big time.  But it seems producer and host, Chuck Barris, who just died from natural causes at 87, had other things on his mind.
😛



Here is Audrey Givens all grown up, followed by a comedy skit.  Courtesy of TV One.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Can Chuck Berry Have His Own Biopic Now?

No disrespect to the Carter's 2008 effort Cadillac Records (which Bey and Jay-Z starred and produced, respectively) but before his recent passing, THE CHUCK BERRY story deserved the spotlight.

The highly-regarded Hail Hail Rock n Roll, was 30 years ago and not entirely dedicated to the guitar legend.  A vehicle that explores the life of a person who is native American and Black, while struggling in an industry that's less than kind to its talent, along with gaining the love and respect from fans, as well as peers, is a story worth telling.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Happy Birthday Sly Stone

Without him, music might not have told us that everyone likes to groove and not all of us are hating on someone because they're different.  Without him, Prince, Lenny, Living Colour, and a whole bunch of other cats may not have a place to express themselves musically.  Here are some rare tracks that I hope you'll enjoy.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Brown Sugar Streaming Review

You've most likely seen the commercials and wondered what's up, as there's not much to be found online. Is is really like Netflix for black folks? Being the blaxploitation movie junkie that I am, I decided to give the free trial a shot.  

Will this rare movie ever make it Bounce TV's new streaming service?
So the sign-up process is pretty cut and dry.  I load this onto my Chromebook mainly because the memory won't have to fight with Adobe CC on my laptop for space.  Plus the device is less than a year old and because it's so finicky about what a person can download, there's room for a streaming service.

At four dollars a month, it's half the price of Hulu (with commercials) but in viewing the inventory, it takes a moment to see if it's worth THAT much.  Brown Sugar has the standards (the Superfly and Shaft trilogies), along with some flicks that are seeing new life like ABAR, the Black Superman and my favorites Willie Dynamite and Hit Man with Bernie Casey.


Upon second glance, I notice a few that aren't familiar but I remember that movies like Black Starlet have alternate titles (Black Gauntlet).  This was the case in one of my favorites that I don't own, Black Sister's Revenge, also titled 'Emma Mae' in the Brown Sugar catalog.  So what is my conclusion?

Basically, if you like to collect (VHS tapes included), this might be a waste of money.  Or, if you have a great relationship (as in you don't mind the interruptions) with YouTube, you can take a chance on movies that may be there one day and gone the following week.  If you're Amazon friendly, I've always had good service with Gateway Cosmetics and other vendors that specialize in Black movie sales.

Brown Sugar streaming is great for the binge watcher with no space for a bunch of discs or watches in the peak hours.

As far as the experience itself goes....it was Saturday and its me with the Chromebook.  I look up a movie from 1968 with Max Julien that I think I saw but not 100% sure.  It takes a moment to load, so I go get snacks (3-5 mins).  Upon return, I recognize the opening theme but sit for the first 5 minutes.  Not even into opening scene, there's buffering.  Okay, things take time and this movie is as old as I am so let's refresh.

Ten minutes in, there's no semblance of a plot and the thing is buffering when I remember that I never saw Charleston Blue.  It's not in Brown Sugar's inventory so off to YouTube I go where I get a clean picture with few interruptions and it costs...ZERO.  Not condoning bootlegging but if someone knows of a standing store in the L.A. where legit blaxploitation movies are sold, hit me up!

Anyway, I do have a suggestion.  Why not add the indie flicks that Bounce used to air before they got 90-early 2000s sitcom fever.  Seriously, I love Half and Half too but remember the show only aired for three seasons and was definitely affected by the writer's strike near the end.  Fine @ss Lamman Rucker made those episodes watchable before its unfortunate demise.

Okay, digressing here.  I'm really digging indie movie like the ones Aspire shows in the afternoon but my favorite from the early days of Bounce are Drop Squad, The Stick Up Kids, and the one where a pre-nose job Kerri Washington was a window dresser/booster.  Sorry (hangs head but snickering).  

So Bounce, what's up?  Can we get something different since you don't quite have 100 movies in your catalog (more like 75 as of Feb 2017)?  About a third of those are shown on network and basic cable from time to time, so maybe faster load times.  I've had a similar experience with Google so I'm not knocking your efforts, just suggesting a little fine tuning for the long run.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Best of Al Jarreau (RIP)

Mr. Jarreau was a music icon and a 50-year veteran who has won many Grammys.  He was in the middle of touring when he was recently hospitalized for exhaustion, his songs have become a staple in American culture.  Read more at Yahoo.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Black New Wave for Throwback Thurs. (Late)

Yeah, sorry so slow.  I still haven't found a copy of the Right On mag featuring 1980s new wavers of color.  But, I have a good memory and other resources so here we go.

Most people remember The Bus Boys from that Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack, "The Boys are Back in Town".  Long before a really funny Mr. Murphy decided to use the Gardena,CA natives (go South Bay!), they made a few other hits that were memorable - just too much for pop radio at the time.

To catch up with these guys, check out their website.  There's a nice documentary that talks about the black L.A. experience that I will probably share in a future post.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Different Kind of Throwback for Thursday

Last year, I was doing the theme thing for my weekly music video post.  Some of you responded accordingly and it helped me keep on track.  There was mention of black rock artists and I thought this would be something special.

Still a work in progress but I was able to find a few times that we were allowed to express ourselves differently - no 3-piece suits or gowns, choreographed dance moves and babymaking music not allowed.

I bring you Nappy Cherry...

I was in the 7th grade when I first heard about this band.  It was in an issue of Right On magazine with a cover that showed Prince in his Dirty Mind phase and the entire issue gave props to brothers and sisters doing it differently.

Unfortunately, this classic cover is hard to find online more than 35 years later.  Even worse, my collection got jacked from my storage bin and has yet to be recovered since I moved nearly 20 years ago.  But I'll give a recap.

Prince, Nappy Cherry, the Busboys, and I wanna say Fishbone, were featured and not long after, some traditional R&B acts began to incorporate the high-pitch synthesizers, fast drum beats, and quirky lyrics into their albums.  Though some songs left a lot to be desired (like She's Only 17) and even marked the end of some acts like Ozone.

However, being different also worked for Cameo.  Though known to serious oldheads for babymaking music (Sparkle, Why Have I Lost You), they decided to switch gears (and gradually losing members, remember when there used to be like 10 dudes on the album cover?) to something more fun that incorporated the essence of R&B music.  This is my favorite track from that period.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Black Folk's Career Suicide

Video courtesy of Keyboard Gangsta
I decided to switch some things up for this month so the music is coming tomorrow.

Now, I never wanted to start a gossip site or use this as a platform to put people down but is the world going crazy?  I'm not talking about the Kardashians or barely literate athletes or rappers showing out before the camera.  What I'm referring to is people killing their careers over BS.

Last year, it was Nate Parker.  I didn't see Birth of a Nation though I heard it was very well-acted and the cinematic visuals went above and beyond.  However, I wasn't feeding into the hype as to whether I should support his work as a member of the black community.  It wasn't even like it was a Nat Turner documentary, so I chose to pass.  Just like he chose to display zero remorse for his victim on camera and deny Oprah an interview (which may have at least piqued more interest).

Kanye's been on a downward spiral for some time and I can only pray for a speedy recovery.  Got the feeling there's a real serious situation here but I won't speculate.  Just please stop supporting the Orange Monster, if you thought George W. didn't like us, then you're in for a helluva shock.

Which brings me to Chrisette Michele...a singer who has struggled for years to get the audience her voice deserves.  Well, she recently got an audience and a little extra change, in exchange for her dignity and lack of respect for what our ancestors fought against.  And there's nothing wrong with needing money (especially if you don't fit the Top 40 mold...musically or visually).  My issue is that the community has to stand strong because white isn't right...it's people with common sense and a heart.

The last entry has jokes that write themselves.  First, Stacey Dash was never a great actress.  Before the BET awards scandal last year, she made her money making mostly straight-to-DVD movies with a weak plot.  Let me go on record by saying that if I had to play the Game's love interest in order to pay my bills, I'd call it a career (because Clueless was a loooong time ago).  Not that I'm special to look at but to be in hustle mode for decades...only to bite the hand that fed you...is insane.  

Before FOX News came along, BET paid this hoe's bills pretty much.  Then she goes off on Jesse Williams after dissing not just Black awards show but the idea behind the month of February.  Her public support of anything against the Black community seemed to be getting worse before it got better (unfortunately, that strategy only works for Ann Coulter).  Then suddenly, the Orange Monster wins, and she's out of a job she wouldn't qualify for anywhere else, FOX News used her because she's vulnerable.


Didn't forget about Steve Harvey....he's too easy.